The First-Year Writing Curriculum Dr. Jan Rieman Associate Coordinator of First-Year Writing UNC Charlotte
The Relatively “New” Curriculum• Implemented by all UNC Charlotte writing faculty in fall 2011.• Comes out of the “social turn” in composition theory that began in the 1980s.• Process-based and inquiry-driven.
Formalism in Writing Instruction• Formalistic modes of writing instruction tend to focus on the mastery of static forms which are treated as universal and immutable.• Writers are expected to mimic these absolute forms
The New Curriculum• Reverses the logic of formalism by conceptualizing writing as a social process;• Presents genres as socially situated forms that emerge from and within specific rhetorical situations.• Teaches writers to attend to their rhetorical situations (context of writing, purpose, audience, constraints), thus enabling them to adapt to writing tasks in a variety of contexts.• Creates space for an inquiry-driven model of writing where writers are able to take chances and learn how to transform genres to suit their unique writing situations.
1101: Writing and Inquiry in Academic Contexts IWriting is both the primary subject of inquiry and the primary activity. Students write, revise, edit and reflect on their writing with the support of the teacher and peers.Students also engage critically with the opinions and voices of others, as they are encouraged to understand how their writing can have an effect on themselves and their environments.As the primary subject of readings and discussion, writing is explored as it relates to different contexts, discourses, cultures and textual media. As students inquire into literacy, they understand their own writing and development with heightened awareness.
Specific Topics of Exploration in 1101• Conventions• Reading as Writers• Genre• Error• Authority• Students’ own writing processes
1102: Writing and Inquiry in Academic Contexts IIStudents develop an extended inquiry project that integrates materials from varied sources and includes writing in multiple genres.Students write, revise, edit and reflect on their writing with the support of the teacher and peers.Students immerse themselves in a conversation about a topic through reading, questioning, and process writing.Polished writing might assume the forms of presentations, reviews of research, essayistic arguments, or multi-media and web-based projects.Students learn to distinguish rhetorical contexts, practice different conventions, and develop positions in relation to research. They also adopt digital technologies to network, compose, and/or critique and disseminate their work.
1102• Researchers don’t generally start out with a thesis and then look for agreement or disagreement.• Questions, responses and genres emerge within discourses, within social settings and situated interactions.• In specific social contexts we question, dialogue, learn, position, and respond.
Writing as Inquiry• Immerse: Invite curiosity, build background, find topics, and wonder;• Investigate: Develop questions, search for information, and discover answers or new questions;• Coalesce: Intensify research, synthesize information, and build knowledge.• Go Public: Share learning, demonstrate understanding, take action.
Writing as InquiryBlogging Journaling Proposals Article reviews Critical responses Participation in forums Summaries of findings
Writing to Disseminate and PersuadePresentations Reviews of Research Essayistic arguments Multi-media projects Web-based projects
In sum…• All Writing is Situated• There is no universal context, academic or otherwise.• Writing is not a basic skill independent of content or context.• Students begin the process of inquiry- guided learning their first year.